Daily News Roundup

June 12, 2019

Wednesday June 12

US President Donald Trump says he has received a warm letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, calling the correspondence “beautiful”.

“I think that something will happen that’s going to be very positive,” he told reporters at the White House, but gave no details. Washington is seeking to rebuild momentum in stalled talks with Pyongyang aimed at getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Mr Trump and Kim last met early this year in Hanoi but failed to reach a denuclearisation agreement.

There could be more of this between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Mr Trump spoke a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Kim’s slain half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was a source for the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Kim Jong-nam was killed at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017. “I did receive a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un … I appreciated the letter.

I saw the information about CIA with respect to his brother, or half-brother. And I will tell him that will not happen under my … I wouldn’t let that happen.

“A very warm, very nice letter,” Mr Trump said. “I think North Korea has tremendous potential.”

He did not rule out another meeting soon with Kim. Mr Trump is due to travel to Japan and South Korea later this month.

Mr Trump said Kim had thus far kept his promises not to test long-range ballistic missiles or conduct underground nuclear tests.

In May, North Korea conducted a “strike drill” for multiple launchers, firing tactical guided weapons in a military drill supervised by Kim.

Mr Trump said at the time that these launches did not pose a problem in his eyes, although his advisers called them a violation of UN Security Council resolutions.


A Victorian mother’s simple safety device for her children has become an overnight world-wide sensation with orders rushing in.

Mother of five, Ms Bell, posted photos online of a seatbelt cover she made showing her daughter’s medical information in the event of a crash.

The post went viral and within days, she had thousands of orders for the covers from around the world.

The covers, which are made with Velcro so they can be fastened to seat belts or a school bag, have bright-coloured text so they are easily seen.

Ms Bell said she made her first cover last week because she was concerned about what might happen if her daughter was in an accident and medical staff did not know she was unable to have an MRI because she had a cochlear implant.

“It’s a safety thing … because anyone can be a first responder at the scene of an accident,” she said.

“So having the details and they’re clear, they’re noticeable, it’s the first thing you’ll see when you open up that car door.”

The Beaconsfield Upper small business owner has made other things for her daughter, who lost her hearing when she was a baby.

Ms Bell said she was shocked by the response.

“Overnight my phone did not stop,” she said.

“I did not expect it to go worldwide.”

Ms Bell said she had received a positive response from some police and firefighters about her products.

Emergency information jewellery is one way people with serious medical conditions can communicate important health information in a serious incident.

But Ms Bell said the seatbelt cover would be easier to spot.

“The bracelets are amazing, but you don’t always look for a bracelet and they can be covered by clothes,” she said.

Ms Bell said she started making the seatbelt covers and other personalised items to sell as “something to do during the week”.

She now has requests for the seatbelt covers in different languages, but at this stage is only making them in English.

Diabetes Victoria chief executive Craig Bennett said he thought it was a “great idea”, especially for young people with type 1 diabetes who need to take insulin regularly.

“If there was an accident, it could be helpful for paramedics, bystanders or medical responders to be aware of relevant health conditions for those involved in accidents,” he said.


Melbourne will be one of three locations around the world where global ridesharing giant Uber will trial a proposed aerial taxi service.

The service would use a network of small and electric aircraft using vertical take-off and landing technology (VTOL)

A 2016 paper proposed using car park roofs and existing helipads to run the service

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority previously said the project was possible and could be introduced within five years

The company’s Uber Air pilot — which will also run in the US cities of Dallas and Los Angeles — aims to connect transport hubs like airports to central city sites.

The rideshare company said test flights were due to start from 2020 and plans were for commercial operations to commence from 2023.

The announcement was made at the company’s Elevate summit in Washington after sealing the deal with Melbourne Airport and companies Macquarie Capital, Scentre Group and Telstra.

“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology,” said Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia.

“This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air.

“We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”

Ms Anderson said Victoria’s state government had been “highly supportive” of the plans for the trial.

“Melbourne is one of the world’s most liveable cities and importantly it’s innovations like this that demonstrate that we’re at the leading edge of new technologies,” Treasurer Tim Pallas told the ABC.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) told ABC Radio Melbourne the authority would work with the company to ensure the service was safe before it started operating.

“There are lots of challenges there — technical, logistical and very much … safety,” CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said.

“We need to make sure that at every stage, all the safety boxes have been ticked, that they’ve gone through all the risks, identified them and worked out how they’re going to manage those risks.”

VTOLs would make use of “autonomy technology” to reduce the risk of operator error.

Last year, the company met with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to discuss the regulatory and safety issues for Uber Air.

CASA previously said the project was possible under the existing regulatory framework and could be introduced within five years.

Uber is certainly not the only company racing to take over the skies.

Airbus is trialling its own air taxi service using a prototype electric aircraft, similar to a drone, which can take off and land vertically.

German company Volocopter is set to test its own drone-based vehicles in Singapore later this year.

Air New Zealand has also said it is examining an autonomous electric air taxi service.

It would not be the first time Uber has offered an air service in Melbourne.

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